The Cheesecake Factory's "Curbside To-Go" Review

I absolutely love the time we live in. Every day I find myself blown away and amazed by some new technological wonder. I would not have fared well in the 19th century or earlier (I barely made it out of the 20th century alive!). One excellent example of the high tech world we find ourselves in came just this last summer. My wife and I are driving down the road and we see a lemonade stand operated by a girl who had to have been about 5 years of age and her mother. My wife said to pull over and we would buy some lemonade. It was 25 cents a cup and it was good. But the thing that caught my attention was the hand drawn sign that said they accept Visa and MasterCard. I could hardly believe it so I had to try it. I handed the girl my debit card and said we would buy 4 cups. She took our card, grabbed her mom’s iPhone, that had a card swiper attachment hooked to it and swiped our card. This data went over the Verizon network to the MasterCard server, which then signaled my bank’s server which checked my account, sent the data back to MasterCard that then sent the data back to Verizon which sent it back to the girls’ iPhone and told her “This fat bastard does indeed have at least $1 in his checking account” (must have been payday). Meanwhile my bank contacts Verizon which sends me a text message to my phone informing me that a $1 transaction had just taken place. All of this took less than 1 minute. Our entire time at the stand was less than 5 minutes. Amazing.

What the hell is wrong with The Cheesecake Factory? Let me back track. I ate at the Cheesecake Factory
for the first time earlier this year and absolutely loved it. I ordered the Cajun Jambalaya Pasta and was in pure heaven. We then ordered desert, which is the real genius of The Cheesecake Factory. Anyone eating everywhere will be asked the simple question “Have you left any room for desert?” I’m willing the bet that in the majority of cases, the answer is “NO”. But not at the Cheesecake Factory. Despite the $7 per slice price tag how can you possibly eat at the Cheesecake Factory without eating a slice of Cheesecake? You can’t. You must eat it! And I was so glad I did. It was awesome.

About a month later I was trying desperately to talk my wife in going back but she didn't want to. She then said why don’t you just get what you want at their “Curbside To-Go” ? I had no idea what she was talking about so she told me. You can call the Cheesecake Factory and order anything you want from their menu. They will then tell you how long until it’s ready, then they tell you to call back when you’re parked in their reserved “Curbside To-Go” parking spots. I ordered, they said 15 minutes and I arrived 12 minutes later, parked in the reserved parking, and called them back. “I’m here”. “Great, we’ll be right out.”

Ten minutes goes by and they finally come out. My fault I figured. I was early. He hands me my food, takes my card, says he’ll be right back and goes back into the restaurant. I couldn't believe it. Where was this fool going? Didn't he have something portable to scan my debit card? Why didn't they ask for my card number over the phone when I ordered? I actually tried this tactic the next time I tried this service and they wouldn't do it. The guy was gone for 10 more minutes, now while my food was getting cold (and driving me crazy with its amazing aroma). I actually got my text message alert from my bank telling me the card had been swiped but it was still 5 more minutes until he came back with my card.

About a week ago I tried “Curbside To-Go” a third and final time. I showed up 10 minutes later than they said, because I had learned the first two times it didn't make any difference to be early. But being 10 minutes late didn't help either. It still took 10 minutes for them to come out. He handed me my food, took my card, and disappeared for 10 minutes. During that wait I checked my food and found I only had 1 loaf of bread. I had made the mistake of asking for both loaves of bread to be wheat. They translated that to mean I didn't want my sour dough loaf. When he returned with my card and receipt, I told him I wanted my second loaf and I wanted it to be wheat. He did apologize and then was gone for …. you guessed it … 10 more minutes. Who runs this place? Barney Rubble? Are they taking orders with stone tablets and chisels? Holy crap. And another thing, the same dish tasted different all 4 times I've had it and the last two times, it’s been crap.

Five year old Peggy Johansson down the road can charge my debit card in the time it takes her to whip her pig tails around a couple of times, but a national chain restaurant makes its customers wait 20-30 minutes each and every time to pick up their food, even after it was supposedly ready. The Cheesecake Factory’s “Curbside To-Go” scores zero stars. Wake up Cheesecake Factory. Wake up and smell the 21st century you troglodytes. Before you go the way of tape cassettes and floppy drives.


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